Perceptions of Femaleness

  • Usha Menon


This chapter elaborates on the self-understandings of Odia Hindu women who live in the temple town, especially their notions about femininity and domesticity. It presents a female-oriented origin myth, familiar in this neighborhood, which portrays Devi, the Great Goddess of Hinduism, as the source of all creation and Siva as her partner, secondary to her in terms of energy and power yet essential to the process of creation. It also discusses the meanings that Odia Hindus in the temple town attach to the process of becoming a woman and the great significance that marriage has as a ritual of refinement for women. The chapter addresses in some detail the complexity that characterizes relations between wives and husbands in the temple town—relations that cannot be described in a straightforward manner as men being dominant and women subordinate because although women may be the “naturally” inferior to men, they hold the lives, health, and material prosperity of their menfolk and their families in the palms of their hands.


Menstrual Flow Restricted Contact Rice Ball Familial Wellbeing Temple Town 
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Copyright information

© Springer India 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Usha Menon
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Culture and CommunicationDrexel UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA

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